Rhythm Ensemble 4

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Code Completion Credits Range Language Instruction Semester
174RA4 exam 4 28 exercise hours (45 min) of instruction per semester, 79 to 99 hours of self-study English, Czech summer

Subject guarantor


Name of lecturer(s)


Learning outcomes of the course unit

The student is oriented in traditional and contemporary music of Benin. Is able to transcribe the rhythmic, melodic and harmonic components of submitted recordings. Is open to experimentation. Is able to work responsibly and without prejudice with unusual forms of notation. Is innovative in finding optimal solutions in the interpretation of compositions.

Mode of study


Prerequisites and co-requisites

Prerequisites: Instrument playing 3, Ensemble playing 3, Rhythm ensemble 3, Improvisation of jazz instruments 3, Jazz theory 3, Ear training 3, History of jazz music 1

Instrument playing 4, Ensemble playing 4, Improvisation of jazz instruments 4, Jazz theory 4, Aural training 4, History of jazz music 2

Course contents

Learning objectives:

Rhythm Ensemble 4 is a course common to all undergraduate years that focuses on the teaching of rhythms, primarily using principles based on traditional West African music. Indeed, it is from this music that the basic rhythmic material originated, which eventually made its way in various forms to both North and South America as part of the slave trade, and its subsequent development gave rise to various other genres that are now a necessary part of the jazz musician's expressive vocabulary.

In the course of their studies, students seek to identify with various musical styles that are rooted in the oral tradition and where the bar line, like the first period, may not play an important role, if it exists at all. During the course of their studies, they all play a variety of traditional percussion instruments and learn to perceive irregular rhythmic patterning (called clave), into which they must then fit their own improvisational language. These rhythmic skills require several years of effort that can be further developed throughout life. The teaching of this course emphasizes musical practice, as it builds on musical traditions with a minimum of theory and theoretical material. Students learn most music by ear and are encouraged to be able to transcribe the rhythmic, melodic and harmonic components of the recordings presented on their own.

Thematic areas:

Benin and its traditional and contemporary music

a) Mastering the rhythmic underpinnings of the Zinli and Agbadja genres

b) Applying traditional rhythms to contemporary jazz - an insight into the music of Lionel Loueke

Recommended or required reading

Recommended reading:

COLEMAN, Steve. Resistance Is Futile: Law of Balance [audio recording on CD]. France: Label Bleu, 2006.

HAMMOND, Doug. A Real Deal: Singing Smiles / Miss Cat / Perspicuity [sound recording on CD]. Paris: Heavenly Sweetness, 2007.

HANCOCK, Herbie. Possibilities: Sister Moon [sound recording on CD]. New York: Vector/Hear Music, 2005.

HOLLAND, Dave. Prime Directive: Looking Up [sound recording on CD]. Munich: ECM Records, 2000.

LOUEKE, Lionel. Gilfema: Tin Min [sound recording on CD]. New York: ObliqueSound, 2005.

Assessment methods and criteria

Students present the repertoire they have studied during their first year of study at the final concert.

Active participation in exercises

Other requirements: attendance of at least 60%



Schedule for winter semester 2022/2023:

The schedule has not yet been prepared

Schedule for summer semester 2022/2023:

The schedule has not yet been prepared

The subject is a part of the following study plans